Yesterday I urged the preacher to not abdicate the role of text explainer, or text applier, but rather to do both in full prayerful reliance on the Holy Spirit. Apart from Christ we can do nothing, but we are not asked to do nothing. Now a third danger of illegitimate separation of Spirit and ministry in preaching, the issue of delivery:
3. The idea that any overt attempt at effective communication is somehow a slight on the Holy Spirit, who would much rather the preacher was completely ineffective so it could be “all of God.” Another strange one, and again, quite inconsistent. While it would be ridiculous to make the presentation all about the preacher’s ability to perform, leaving God out (and we’ve probably all sensed that now and then with some), surely it is equally ridiculous to try to abdicate our role as communicators.
The Holy Spirit is preeminently concerned with effective heart to heart communication (that is the ongoing ingredient in almost all His roles in Scripture, it seems). We don’t honour the Spirit by communicating as poorly as possible. Equally, we are inconsistent if we make any effort to be loud enough to be heard, or if we at least speak with coherent and distinct words – why bother at all? Just mumble quietly. No, in reality the Spirit is the One who is at work in peoples’ hearts and lives, yet for some reason He also works through us as we preach. Preacher, lean fully on God’s strength and pray continually for the Spirit to be at work, and communicate as effectively as you can, that’s part of your role.